La Galleria Pall Mall, London will present Arabella Dorman an artist intrigued by the human condition; her work documents the people and places affected by conflict across the globe. Before the Dawn – An Artist’s Journey Through Afghanistan will run from 4 – 15 November and is a selling exhibition of work inspired by and created during her travels through Afghanistan over a period of five years. The exhibition is made possible by Mirwais Alizai, a young Afghan entrepreneur and patron of the arts.
Arabella lived and worked alongside the local people and armed forces across Afghanistan during trips made over the past five years, chronicling their lives and stories in a series of paintings and works on paper. The exhibition is a response to the unfolding narrative that she witnessed and an insight into how individual lives are shaped by conflict, struggle and shared moments of strength. The work takes the viewer on a journey through the dusty landscapes of Helmand province, along the roads of Afghanistan’s recent history and into the everyday lives of Afghan families. Back in the UK, Arabella has charted the stories of returning soldiers as they face the reality of life at home and the after-effects of conflict.
The exhibition’s sponsor Mirwais Alizai, 35, is an Afghan entrepreneur who grew up in Helmand province. As a teenager he became the sole breadwinner for his family following the death of his father and has gone on to found a successful businessman.
Mirwais Alizai said: “The conflict in Afghanistan is widely reported, but what is overlooked is the colour, drama and struggle of everyday life as our young country defines its future at a time of uncertainty but also huge potential. This future is being built in the country’s schools, streets, bazaars and villages every day – and at the heart of everything Afghan is the role of the family.
Arabella’s work gets behind the stories and headlines to capture Afghanistan and the lives of its people that are hidden from Western eyes. She depicts the real Afghanistan – a place where the darker effects of conflict are balanced by optimism and ambition. Her exhibition confronts the legacy of conflict and the often invisible scars it leaves, but also will challenge your preconceptions about Afghanistan and its people.”
Arabella Dorman said: “In a media-saturated world where photographic images of war are readily available at the touch of a button, I have turned to the quieter and more deliberate medium of paint, to bring our focus back to the individual lives, to dwell upon the hidden human stories of courage, sacrifice and tribulation that are found in the shadows. In essence I am trying to capture civilians and soldiers in the silent, intimate space of their everyday lives. Together my body of work shows the transition of a country, the stories and struggles of people both in Afghanistan but also at home, those in the armed forces who return carrying the mental and physical marks of war, which will forever link them to Afghanistan, as they themselves often face an equally uncertain future.”
100% of ticket sales and 10% of all sales of work will be donated to the two charities with whom Arabella has been working for some time, supporting aid workers and rehabilitation programmes on both British and Afghan soil; Afghanaid and Walking With the Wounded.